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Thursday, August 30, 2007

"The Golden Compass" sense of direction?

I've just recently viewed a very disturbing trailer, for a children's movie scheduled for release on December 7th. Take a look:

What this particular trailer doesn't reveal, amidst the fantastic CGI and stunning cinematography, is that the "big, bad wolf" in this children's film is the Magisterium. The Magisterium is a powerful, evil world organization bent on capturing the souls of children and suppressing their imagination. Each soul has it's own "demon" which comes to the defense of the child in times of peril or threat.

The Golden Compass
is the first installment in a trilogy written by Philip Pullman. Pullman, a pro-active atheist, pulls no punches about his personal feelings regarding religion. In fact, Peter Hitchens, a conservative British columnist, published an article about Pullman entitled “This Is the Most Dangerous Author in Britain,” in which he called him: the writer “the atheists would have been praying for, if atheists prayed.”

His Dark Materials trilogy is marketed as being "loosely based upon the classic Paradise Lost."

Pullman is extremely hostile in his views of C.S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia, referring to the stories as "reactionary" and containing "a peevish blend of racist, misogynistic and reactionary prejudice." He vigorously opposed the production of the Chronicles as a movie series, stating: "If the Disney corporation wants to market this film as a great Christian story, they'll just have to tell lies about it."

A reminder: Philip Pullman's trilogy is marketed to and read by children. To call the books anti-Catholic, is an understatement. The film contains the same errors, in a visually stunning package.

The Golden Compass is filled with anti-Catholic rhetoric: evil Magisterium, wicked priests, an ex-nun who describes Christianity as “a very powerful and convincing mistake,” and so on. The visual appeal of this new movie will be hard to resist and Newline is marketing this film on the heels of the very successful "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, though the two works share no real similarities.

Mr. Pullman is well aware of the power of a well told tale:

“ ‘Thou shalt not’ might reach the head, but it takes ‘Once upon a time’ to reach the heart.”

For additional information, check out the following:

Life and Letters: Far From Narnia

Pullman Attacks Narnia Film Plans


Kristen Peterson said...

Well it looks like a stunning film, to be honest, and I'm a huge fan of Nicole Kidman (who is Catholic too!), so thanks for posting about it. I will definitely go to see it and I'll try to see if I can read the book first. It does look quite interesting and I'm sure it is anti-Catholic but so what? I can appreciate a good work of fiction. A work of fiction is not going to affect anyone's faith or anything.

scmom said...

How frightening. Satan is busy, busy!

Kimberly Wasson said...

God bless you, Kristen!

I would certainly hope that most Catholic adults are well-formed in their faith and not so easily tossed about by the "winds of the world." It is not my intention to suggest that a work of fiction could destroy the faith of a devout Catholic.

My concern is firmly rooted in the conviction that the film and books are not adult works of fiction. They are books for children. Mr. Pullman recently won a very prestigious British award for children's literature...not adult!

Additionally, I take issue with the continued onslaught of stereotypical depictions of Catholics in the media. Islam is never portrayed in this remains fair game to attack the Church.

As Christ said it would be.

Thanks for your comment.

Jen said...

I am very glad I saw this. The trailer is fantastic, and I can see how it will draw alot of people in.

Anonymous said...

Where in the book is the word CATHOLIC?

Kimberly Wasson said...

What other world religion utilizes the priesthood and religious (nuns)? Which world religion refers to its hierarchy as the Magisterium? And is Christian?

The Catholic Church.

Magisterium. Priest. Nun. These are not made up words. They are Catholic words. Mr. Pullman is an educated man; he knows what these words mean and to whom or what they refer.

BTW, he wrote these books for children, not adults.

Even if the average adult is able to look past the bigotry, it is no less heinous.

Pullman may write whatever he chooses. Hollywood will continue to produce rubbish. Let's not pretend it's something that it's not.

Hollywood would not dare produce The Satanic Verses, it doesn't matter that Rushdie's book was a work of fiction, not a revelation. It is just not politically correct, not to mention safe to slam Islam. It remains open season on Catholics and Christianity in general.

So where in the book is the word CATHOLIC? On every permeates the story to its core.

Anonymous said...

I have read The Golden Compass. It is a mediocre children's story about an alternate reality. Based on my knowledge of the first book, the anti-Catholic aspects of this book cannot be taken alone. Science gets attacked in an arguably more devastating fashion. Lord Asriel, the scientist, murders the main character's friend at the end of the novel. Furthermore, he is in bed with the Church, so science does not get a better reputation than the Church. This is a strange move for an atheist. Rather the book builds up friendship and honor, over and against the deception of the Church and Scientists. While this may still concern the religious, note the fantasy nature of the story should allow mature children to separate the Church in GC and the Church in reality. The only thing that is troubling is the degradation of the main character's parents who both turn out to be murderers. However, healthy families are portrayed, and these families take the main character in and care for her.
I hope this sheds light on the story. I always find that critics can take things out of context and make things look very bad.


PS-Daemons in the book are not the evil demons of Christianity. Pullman's draws on the original pagan notion of a Daemon as a powerful and intelligent spirit. Th e daemons in the story function as companions to the humans and exemplify their natures.

Kimberly Wasson said...


Thank you so much for your input regarding the controversy surrounding The Golden Compass. Indeed, many critics do, often, "take things out of context". I would encourage any adult considering allowing their children to read the book(s) or see the movie, to peruse the material thoroughly to form an objective opinion.

Once again, my concern remains with Mr. Pullman's agenda and vocabulary. His words are the words of religion - Catholicism, to be exact. The Church has faced attack from many fronts...this one is different. The target: the minds of children. The assumption that the "mature" child will be able to discern the difference between the "daemon" and the "demon" is ludicrous. The pagan notion of the half-god/half-mortal entity vs. the evil spirit of both Christian and Jewish belief, is simply foreign to the average child. This book is marketed and distributed by Scholastic Books. Scholastic caters to children from Kindergarten and up. The majority of the children who will view this movie will have never read the book. Note: I am truly only concerned with this movie and book as both pertain to children, not adults.

BTW: I particularly mentioned the bit about the "demons", because as a devout Catholic my children are regularly instructed about the Holy Angel Guardian appointed by God as their protector. This "demon" protector treads a little too closely to the traditional teachings of the Church. Once the sweet realm of childhood.

Thank you again for your very charitable and informative comment.

DawnInTexas said...

Why take a chance?

Why support something that the Catholic League has said not to?

Our world is going to hell in a handbasket...why support or aid the enemy?

There's yet another of the problems of our world today: When an authority (Holy Mother Church) says "No" don't do it.

What part of "don't view the movie" some people don't understand?


+Through Him, With Him, In Him,
-Dawn in Texas

Nicholas said...

What part of this is a fantasy based movie don't you understand? If the "church" has a problem with the vocabulary of a movie than "it" has bigger problems all together! As for this being marketed toward childen, what do you have to worry about if parents educate them about the difference about fantasy and reality? Your main concern should be the parents and their teaching of thier children. I'm so tired of "religous groups" bashing any type of fictional literature because it dosn't fit their own mold of propaganda. Now you are probably thinking that I too am atheist but the truth is I'm not. I go to church every day and I understand that my relationship with our Lord and Savior lets me think freely about all aspects of literature, religion and life in general. Catholics are so closed minded that if the "church" to them to jump off a bridge because the pope told them to than they would. Quit telling people to be sheep and let them find God their own way!

Kimberly Wasson said...


Thank you for your comment. I would never label anyone an "atheist" simply because he expressed an opinion opposite of my own.

I will assume, however, that you are not a Catholic (your comment regarding the "close-mindedness" of Catholics doesn't seem to be self inclusive.) Catholics understand that the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. When the Body is attacked, we must defend.

Nicholas...words are everything. Our Lord and Savior is "the Word made flesh..." The Holy Bible is full of words. Words are how truth and lies are revealed. Words express love and hatred. Words are powerful...Careless and slandering use of vocabulary is a grave matter.

As a Catholic, I don't consider myself as "close-minded" when I look beyond the surface of most things that cross my path. Looking behind the "vocabulary" that Mr. Pullman has used, reveals much about his intentions.

The fantasy issue is irrelevant. Mr. Pullman has stated that he has an agenda. He wants to present atheism to your children as an alternative to Christianity. As a self-confessed Christian you should have a problem with this.

As for telling people to be sheep...I don't believe I've ever used those words, but I know that my Lord and Savior did.

I am a sheep. I have a Shepherd. The Pope is the Vicar of Christ. I follow as he leads, not off a bridge, but down a very narrow path that requires faith.

God bless you!